Making a change in the world is not necessarily complicated. In fact, some of the most important movements in the world are pretty simple. Like taking people for a run. Or reducing the amount of plastic waste that goes into landfill.
But there are ingredients that are absolutely required for change to happen, including commitment, consistency and community. Those are values shared by two positive forces that have come together to make change: Movement Runners and Zen Running Club.
Movement Runners is a group set up by LA resident Kit John. When it is pointed out to Kit that he has been leading the group for almost a decade, even he sounds surprised: “When you put it like that, the idea of commitment is even more obvious,” he says.
Kit created Movement Runners with a simple mission: to help people new to running to find their place in the sport. The goal is to help them feel comfortable with the idea of running. Kit knows that new runners face many challenges. “It’s not always easy, getting into running,” says Kit. “But we work hard to make running accessible. And now we help new runners prepare for events such as 5km and 10km races and full marathons.”
So why running? Kit was drawn to the sport because he believes that the specific sense of community that the activity can create is not present in other sports. “Most sports have running as a part of them,” explains Kit. “I meet basketball players who tell me they’re not runners – but what are they doing on the court? The difference in running is that it allows people to come together in a way that other sports don’t. That’s why I knew running was the way to create a community.” Kit is a personal trainer and is keen to emphasise that he doesn’t limit himself – or the people he coaches – to just running. The aim is to get people active, no matter what form it takes.
“It was actually pretty easy to get Movement Runners started,” Kit says when talking about the genesis of the programme. “In fact, I think starting pretty much anything is easy. You have an idea and just get up and start. The problem is keeping it going.”
Kit has observed this first hand, with runners who join his – or in fact any – group. They sometimes run for a few weeks or months, and then something crops up, which means they can’t make it for one session. Which turns into two workouts, and so on. But as the founder and leader of the group, Kit has had to show up week in, week out. And it’s through his example that he inspires others to commit.
This commitment and consistency underpin the sense of community that has been built up over the years by Kit and the Movement Runners. And Kit has harnessed this community in the service of people who find themselves facing hard times and big challenges: “My proudest achievement has been helping those less fortunate,” says Kit. “We do that through our Skid Row initiative, where we dedicate the third Saturday of every month to helping homeless people.” For example, they collect shoes for people who need them: “The members of the community gather up sneakers they don’t need and I collect them in my back yard. I often get to 1,000 pairs and then stop counting because there are too many,” says Kit.
What Kit is doing is not all that complicated. He has created an opportunity for people to come together and discover the benefits of running and physical movement. Those athletes form a community that Kit can then mobilise to help people in need. And all that flows from the commitment Kit and the members make to the organisation and to each other.
This made an impression on Zen Running Club, a brand committed to minimising the negative impacts on the environment caused by running.
Dominic Sinnott, co-founder of Zen Running Club, knows that community is key to ensuring the brand will succeed in its mission to build high-performance sustainable running shoes, without compromise, made from ground-breaking plant-powered innovations. “Zen Running Club is determined to challenge the status quo in the running shoe market,” explains Dominic. “As a brand, we can’t reconcile our love of nature with the damage being done to it by running footwear production. Our answer is simply to change the way shoes are made, without compromising their performance. And we know that building community is crucial. The brand name includes the word Club – we are all about bringing as many people along for the journey as possible. That’s why we admire what Kit and the Movement Runners are doing in LA: building a real community. They are part of the Zen Running Club now.”
When asked what community means, Kit has a powerful answer: “It is where you have people who hold you accountable and who expect the same from you. We all need a little help in our lives, and being part of a community means you have people who will help you over the speed bumps that come along.”
Zen Running Club understands that making meaningful change – which will help protect the great outdoors not just for us but for generations to come – will require the same elements that Kit is building at Movement Runners: commitment, consistency and community.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ZEN RUNNING CLUB
Find out more and be part of a growing global group of runners dedicated to sustainability and running: www.zenrunningclub.com
Together we can create real change. Made From Good Decisions.